|1st United States Ambassador to the Organisation of the Islamic Conference|
March 3, 2008 – January 20, 2009
|President||George W. Bush|
|Preceded by||Position established|
|Succeeded by||Rashad Hussain|
December 3, 1951 |
Sada Cumber is a Pakistani-American businessman and diplomat. He assumed his duties as Special Envoy to the Organisation of the Islamic Conference (OIC) on March 3, 2008, with his term ending January 20, 2009. As Special Envoy, Mr. Cumber served as the U.S. representative to the OIC, and advanced United States interests among the OIC’s 57 members nations, including promoting mutual understanding and dialogue while combating intolerance, extremism and the conditions which create it.
Early history and personal life
Mr. Cumber was born in Karachi, Pakistan in 1951. He holds a Bachelor’s Degree in Commerce and a Master’s Degree in History, both from the University of Karachi. Mr. Cumber came to the United States in 1978 and has been an American citizen since 1986.
Cumber is an entrepreneur and investor. His business background is in in senior management, marketing, and imaging technology. As an entrepreneur, Mr. Cumber specializes in national and global network strategy, strategic marketing, business planning and institution building.
Beginning as a small business owner involved with photo processing and photo developing stores, Cumber has founded and owned more than dozen companies, predominantly in technology-based industries. Triumph Flexo Industries which was acquired by American Greetings (NYSE: AM) in 1994. In 1995, he co-founded Applied Science Fiction, a company specializing in a digital dry film process whose technologies were recently acquired by Kodak (NYSE: EK) . Prior to founding Texas Global, Cumber founded SozoTek, a wireless imaging company. He served as Chairman & CEO of Psionic Technologies, Inc., an Internet Security software company acquired by Cisco Systems (NASDAQ: CSCO) in 2002. Cumber also served as Chairman of the Board of TCMS-LLC, an intellectual property development company, and as Chairman of Sozotek Inc., an imaging technology company. In 2006, Cumber co-founded and served as Principal in Texas Global-LLP, a business and public affairs consulting firm. The same year, he also founded and CACH Capital Management, an investment advisory and wealth management firm.
Mr. Cumber has also served on numerous corporate boards and as a speaker at the meetings of several national and international organizations, on topics including the ethics of persuasion, entrepreneurship and governance.
Mr. Cumber has been active in the public sphere, serving on the boards of various Texas-based and international organizations, including the Board of Directors of the Texas Economic Development Board (a $300 million fund), the Texas Emerging Technology Fund (a $200 million fund), the 15th World Congress on Information Technology, the Texas Business Council, and the Governor’s Task Force on Higher Education. Mr. Cumber has also been active in civic organizations, advisory councils, and charitable foundations.
Sada has served on numerous boards, civic/community organizations, advisory councils and foundations. He is regularly invited by national and international organizations to speak on Ethics of Persuasion, Entrepreneurship and Governance. He has been extensively written and quoted in numerous national and international publications such ascForbes, The Wall Street Journal, Scribe Business (German), Austin American Statesman, Business Journal and other publications.
- Governor of Texas: Appointee on Texas Economic Development Board ($300 Million fund).
- Governor of Texas: Appointee on Texas Emerging Technology Fund ($200 Million fund).
- Governor of Texas: Member Texas Business Council
- Texas Higher Education Coordinating Board
- Governor of Texas: Task Force on Higher Education
- Chairman - Texas 5-Year Strategic Plan for International Business
- University Of Texas, Chancellor's Advisory Council: Institute for Public Schools Initiatives
- Board and Executive Committee: WCIT/2006: World Congress on Information Technology
- Member, Steering Committee: United Nations 60 th Anniversary – Austin, Texas
- University of Texas, College of Fine Arts: Advisory Council
- The Indus Entrepreneurs (TiE)–Advisory board member Houston chapter
- President, His Highness the Aga Khan Council for Southwest USA (two terms)
- Board of Trustees, Photo Marketing Association International
- Board of Trustees, Digital Imaging Marketing Association
- Board of Trustees, Association of Photo CD Users
- Board of Directors, Foundation of Religion Studies, Texas
- Life Member, Buck Rogers Group
Appointment as Special Envoy to OIC
Bush first indicated in June 2007 that he would name an envoy to the OIC. His spokeswoman, Dana Perino, told reporters. “It is an important organization, it has a constructive role to play in the world, and the president is signaling our desire to have a greater dialogue with the organization as well as Muslims around the world.”
Cumber’s appointment was announced on Feb 27, 2008. Asked why Bush’s search for an envoy had taken as long as it had, Perino replied: “He wanted to find the right person and he found that in Sada Cumber.” Bush also announced part of Cumber’s appeal for the position was his “ability to build resources and capacities in short order.” 
As first appointee to the office, Cumber had wide discretion in defining the office’s scope and mandate. Chose to focus on combating extremism, promoting values like democracy and religious freedom, and reinforcing U.S. allies in the Muslim world at the national, regional, and local levels.
Cumber also emphasized public diplomacy, bypassing national governments and other gatekeepers to promote US values and interests directly to the people.
Major foci for Cumber during his time as special envoy include:
- Architect of U.S. strategy to promoting U.S. interests, fight extremism, and improve relations with the OIC and its member nations.
- Advocated democracy, freedom, and individual rights while speaking to universities, governing bodies, and other audiences throughout the Middle East.
- Promoted religious freedom. Let the U.S. delegation to U.N. Conference on Interfaith Dialogue and Religious Defamation. Represented the U.S. government in a dialogue between the Vatican and Muslim Nations.
- Authored an intelligence White Paper on improving US performance in Afghanistan, Pakistan and Central Asia.
Post-State Department Career
Since departing the State Department, Cumber has returned to entrepreneurship, splitting his attention between establishing businesses in consulting and technology. In 2016, Cumber established Eden LLC, which plans to establish a chain of memory care centers in Texas and the Southwest. Plumbrook is an international consulting firm. TCMS is developing a digital device that applies make-up pixel by pixel. Wakai offers aesthetic treatments for men.
Cumber remains active in public service and philanthropy, both domestically and internationally. On March 14, 2014, Cumber was appointed to the Texas Higher Education Coordinating Board, the agency overseeing all public post-secondary education in the state. The Coordinating Board sets policies and coordinates efforts to improve higher education in Texas. Then Governor Rick Perry appointed Cumber because of his global perspective and ability to apply international best-practice to Texas higher education. Cumber’s term ended on August 31, 2015.
Internationally, Cumber is interested in promoting strong civil society and combating human trafficking as well as aid programs advancing food security and early childhood development in developing nations. He works with non-governmental organizations, especially the AKDN, addressing these issues. Program development, raising visibility and branding, as well as institutional reforms.
Cumber continues to write and speak widely. In an editorial in The Hill, Cumber argued for the importance of foreign aid in advancing US interests while also suggesting that the Trump Administration’s proposed budget cuts could be an opportunity to make needed reforms in the US foreign aid system. In the Daily Signal, Cumber commented on the positive relations between Rick Perry and the Muslim community in Texas.
- Sada Cumber Biography - US Department of State
- Cumber, Sada (2017-04-14). "Foreign aid is fundamental, but we can do more with less". TheHill. Retrieved 2017-05-08.
- 2016 (2016-04-19). "Rick Perry: We Are ‘Not in a War’ With Muslims". The Daily Signal. Retrieved 2017-05-08.